Some highlights—and low lights—for 2009–10 motorcycle models
Transport Canada has a lengthy list of motor vehicle safety recalls. The federal department deals with everything from all-terrain vehicles to production cars to light trucks. It also covers motorcycles going right back to 1970. Results for 2011 bike models aren’t complete yet, but here are some highlights—or low lights—for 2009–10 models.
Nine no-nos on file here. On various K1300 models, the handlebar-mounted signal-light switch and emergency engine cutoff could fail, leading to a stalled engine and, under certain conditions, a crash. This model may also suffer from brake fluid “foaming” over long distances, and as a result, diminished stopping abilities. The boxer-engined R1200GS, meanwhile, may have a fuel pump that allows water to seep into it during heavy rainfall and, consequently, could suffer a loss of power or stalling. The RTP police duty version of this model can also be afflicted by leaky front brake lines, which could lead to the loss of front braking ability. Last but not least, the F800GS adventure-tourer may have problems with an imperfect front axle that could break during off-road riding.
For such a low-volume manufacturer, this company has a disproportionately high number of safety recalls. And given the way these bikes are often ridden, none of these recalls should be taken lightly. I count 15 in all, covering virtually the entire model range for these years. At least six deal with questionable plastic tubing between the fuel injectors and hose fitting. This could fail and, ultimately, cause a fire. Models affected include the Streetfighter and the 1198. The former may also have a loose fuel-hose fitting from the fuel pump, a cracked front axle mount, and an improperly mounted ECU (electrical control unit). This latter malfunction could lead to engine misfire and eventually a complete shutdown. Ducati may make hellaciously quick motorcycles, but this Italian company apparently still doesn’t have its act together when it comes to assembly quality.
There are at least 30 recalls on file for 2009–10 Harley models, and a healthy number of these have to do with possible fuel-tank damage in the event of a front-end accident (duh!). In Transport Canada’s own words, “On certain motorcycles, the fuel tank front mounts may distort in reaction to severe frame damage from a frontal collision. This may result in a fuel leak,” which could, in turn, cause a fire. Most of the models affected are derivatives of the FLH/Electra Glide line, but this also affects Harley’s new Tri Glide three-wheeler. Some other contretemps for these two years of Harley-Davidson include possible fuel venting problems with the Dyna Low Rider and the Fat Boy, and issues with the “jiffy” kickstand on some models.
Just two here. Both are minor, involving non-DOT-complying headlights that don’t require any corrective action. Models affected are the CBR 125 and the SH150i scooter.
Twelve glitches to report with this manufacturer. A couple on the Voyager 1700 are comparatively trivial and just affect the speedometer graduations, which are apparently at 30-kilometre-per-hour intervals and not the requisite 20-kilometre-per-hour spaces. Talk about splitting hairs. Other problems are more serious, including a possibly blocked oil passage to the cylinder head on the KL250 dual-sport bike; potentially faulty muffler mountings on the KLR650, which could lead to said muffler falling off; and a design failing on the Concours tourer, which could allow small stones to be trapped in the brake pedal mechanism, which may in turn lead to the brakes overheating and eventually seizing up. Owners of the practical Versys may want to check their saddlebags, which could obscure the rear reflectors and reduce your visibility at night.
Three glitches with this British manufacturer. Two involve a questionable rear drag link assembly on the Sprint 1050, and the third a potential rear tire “torque-induced degradation” on the Rocket III touring model. Apparently, the rear tire can leak and create all kinds of havoc. If you’ve ever ridden this mega-powerful cruiser, it isn’t hard to see how the rear tire would be subject to stress in the wrong hands.
Just three safety recalls are listed with Transport Canada for this company. Two of these affect the FJR sport tourer and concern a possibly flawed ignition switch that may overheat and shut down the bike. The consequences of this are a loss of bike control and, well, you can figure out the rest. The second glitch is found on the CW50 scooter and has to do with a minor problem with the rear taillight, which may not be bright enough to be seen at night. A stronger bulb fixes this one.
Virtually all of the problems discussed here can be set right, free of charge, at your local dealer.
And a word about Transport Canada’s safety recall program. In a nutshell, this department responds to complaints regarding the safety of a vehicle. Things like faulty steering or suspension components and questionable tires, for example, are investigated by analysts, who work with consumers, manufacturers, and forensic scientists to determine if there is indeed an issue. Transport Canada takes pains to point out that these issues concern safety-related components exclusively; things like a lousy paint job, squeaks and rattles, and nonfunctioning accessories are not covered. For more information, go to www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety.